Investigating the behaviour of muons

Dated: 25 April 2023

 
On Wednesday 29th of March, physics students from Woodhouse, joined by others across London, presented their research into the properties of cosmic radiation at Queen Mary University of London for the annual ‘Cosmic Con 23’ conference.
 
The students had been working in groups with a particle detector called a Minipix, investigating the behaviour of a particle called a muon. These are created in the upper atmosphere when cosmic radiation collides with atoms. The muon is one of the fundamental subatomic particles, the most basic building blocks of the universe as described in the Standard Model of particle physics. Muons are similar to electrons but weigh more than 207 times as much.
 
Over a five month period the students investigated many aspects of the muon’s behaviour...
 
 ‘Investigation on the Effects of the Angle of the detector within a Helmholtzcoil and the presence of a radioactive source (Thorium Rod) on radiation’
by Carla, Dario and Mohamed
 
Mohamed said "The project has proved beneficial as it has provided help to all students who participated in which some of them have said: “The project was a valuable opportunity to engage with real-world physics research. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this project and believe that it provided a unique and enriching experience that will serve me well in my future studies and career.” 
 
 ‘An Investigation to the effect of radioactive sources on muon detection’
by Winona, Eleanor, Ameerah, Olivia and Mae and Catriona.
 
Winona said “The project was an exciting and interesting project which allowed us to investigate different types of particles, whilst having the opportunity to use specialist equipment including the mini-pix. I thoroughly enjoyed the final conference where we all came together and shared our findings with our peers.” 
 
‘An investigation into the correlation between muon flux, energy and atmospheric height’
by Sharujan, Tarek, Lucas and Ilyas
 
‘The effect of the Day-Night cycle on Muons’
by Alex, Sean, Berhan and Zakaria
 
‘Investigating the effect of altitude on the decay of Muons
by Jilo, Ma’areb, Rhiana and Amber
 
The conference included the presentation of posters during the first hour which allowed students to socialize and learn about other schools’ research and experiments. While some students chose to present their findings in front of an audience. 
 
One of the best Woodhouse posters from this year's ‘Cosmic Con’ conference was rewarded with first prize: a book entitled ‘A Brief History of Black Holes: And why nearly everything you know about them is wrong’ by Dr. Becky Smethurst.
 
Ma'areb told us  “The project gave us a great insight into what university level research might look like. It also had some relevance to the A level specification, which allowed us to understand the subject better.”
The conference finished with a talk by PhD student Margarett-Ann Withington:‘An Introduction to Computational Physics’ which included a question-and-answer portion that allowed the student audiences to learn more about the life of a PhD student.
 
Many thanks to student Jilo for reporting back for us.  


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